Data Security Tips Every Businessperson Should Know

How secure your data from loss

Computers have today become an essential part of our daily lives. Whatever we do, whether it is in our private or professional life, chances are we will always have the need for them.

Are you a blogger, small business entrepreneur, sports man or woman, an educational institute or some multi-million conglomerate? Everyday most of our dealings on done using computers. And of course, most of these work are stored in these wonder boxes.

Now, imagine this scenario:

You’ve been slaving away for hours over the keyboard. You’ve created the ideal business plan. You’ve arranged your client’s accounts. You’ve just written the blog that will define your career.

And then, WHAM – the computer crashes !

Did you back up? Well, we hope so.

But let’s face it; data security and preventing data loss is something that we tend to do as a reactive measure.

If you don’t to hear those cries of agony and annoyance then now is the time to be more proactive about data security. You need to ensure that you are doing all that you can to prevent the onset of data loss. After all, you don’t want to be faced with losing vital pieces of work.

To help you stay on top of the game when it comes to preventing data loss, I have put together these three essential tips that you can use to ensure that you are proactively preventing data losses.

But first,

What Really is Data Security?

According to Techopedia,

“Data security refers to protective digital privacy measures that are applied to prevent unauthorized access to computers, databases and websites. Data security also protects data from corruption.”

That being said, here are the top 3 tips to help you prevent data loss:

1. It’s All About Location

In a bid to prevent data loss for your business, you need to ensure that you are using multiple locations to store your data. Yes, this may seem commonsensical, but think about where your business data is currently stored. If you are simply storing it within your hard drive, you need to think beyond this. USB sticks and external hard drives are cheap, yet savvy, solutions to ensuring that you are preventing data loss. The loss of data can have a detrimental impact on your business. So, ensure that you are implementing multiple locations of storage. That way, you will be able to access your pertinent information, even if you have a computer malfunction.

2. Beware of Malware!

Everyone is aware of malware and the severe impact it can have on a company. But, are you making sure that you are preventing an attack of malware? The key to preventing data loss is to ensure that you are proactively protecting your computer and data systems from viruses. Trojans, worms and malware can all have a severe impact on your data. So, make sure that you are implementing a software solution that protects your data against this threat.  Anti-malware programs are becoming more of a mainstay than a luxury. Ensure that you have firewall installed too. Now, you are in a great place to protect your data. After all, data is not only lost, it can be stolen too. This can have a severe effect on your business. Ensure that you are in the right place to protect yours and your client’s data.

3. Backing Up

Okay, so this may seem commonsensical but are you backing up regularly? Backing up your data is the best way to prevent losing it. You need to ensure that you are backing up regularly and efficiently. Ensure that you have CDs, DVDs and pen drives in your possession. Cloud software is a great way of backing up your pertinent data too. Google provides free cloud solutions for documents and spreadsheets. Of course, there are more robust forms of cloud software like Dropbox and Skydrive too. There is a vast amount of choice when it comes to cloud backup systems. Now, you have no excuse to lose your data again!

If you will put these tips to use all the time, you can be sure that your data are secured and you will have that peace of mind that you so desire.

Over to you: Ever experienced a computer crash? Can you share with us your experience?

Google’s New Privacy Policy: How Much Of User’s Rights Is Being Violated?

For some time now, there has been an outcry because of the new changes Google is about to implement its privacy policy. The new policy, which will become effective November 11 2013, will give Google the right to use your name, photo and recommendations on adverts. Google calls this one shared endorsement.

Of course, this is not the first time Google is making changes to its privacy policy but considering the extent of what this entails many are saying, this is a direct violation of user’s privacy.

But what really does this change mean, how will it affect you as a user and what can you do about it?

The New Google Privacy Policy Explained

One thing that Google has actually done before the new policy comes into effect is that they have provided very clear explanations – why they are doing it, how it affects you and what you can do if you are not okay with it. You can read the whole thing here.

In a nutshell, here’s what Google is aiming to do with the new policy:

When the new policy come into effect starting November 11, 2013, you’ll be giving Google the right to use your Google+ profile pictures, name, and endorsements on adverts. For example, if you have a profile on Google+ (and I’m sure you do) and you’ve +1 (that is, rated or recommended a product or service using the platform), if it turns out that the company that produces or markets that product or service wants to advertise on Google, once the company purchase an advert, your photo would now appear on the advert as recommending the product!

Google new shared endorsement - how it affects users' privacy

Creepy? Wise thinking?

Well, it all depends on which divide you stand.

But while many are crying foul and demanding that something be done before this come to light, Google however thinks this is something you should cherish :). Hear what Google has to say,

“We want to give you — and your friends and connections — the most useful information. Recommendations from people you know can really help. So your friends, family, and others may see your Profile name and photo, and content like the reviews you share or the ads you +1’d. This only happens when you take an action (things like +1’ing, commenting, or following) — and the only people who see it are the people you’ve chosen to share that content with. On Google, you’re in control of what you share. This update to our Terms of Service doesn’t change in any way who you’ve shared things with in the past or your ability to control who you want to share things with in the future.”

Of course, Google was not forth coming as to the advertising profits this new change will put in their pockets but we do know and that is why many are complaining.

How Does This Violate Users’ Rights?

This new change is something that many of us who use various Google products and services across the internet should really be concerned about. As Dr. Deborah C. Peel, a psychoanalyst and founder of Patient Privacy Rights, an advocacy group puts it:

“People expect when they give information, it’s for a single use, the obvious one. That’s why the widening of something you place online makes people unhappy. It feels to them like a breach, a boundary violation.”

And indeed, this is definitely a boundary violation. It is clear that when people joined these social media sites they never had the mind of being used for marketing purposes like this cheap advertising that Google wants to use all of us for!

Is Google Biting More Than It Can Chew?

Beyond the on-going debate whether this is a violation of users’ rights, a US senator, Sen. Edward Markey believes that Google is actually reneging on an earlier agreement that has to do with the company’s 2011 privacy settlement with the FTC over its now-defunct Buzz service.

In a letter seeking for clarifications, Sen. Edward Markey wrote:

“In addition to being an opt-out mechanism, Google’s announced privacy changes come over two years after the company reached a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission. In that matter, the Commission had alleged that Google used deceptive tactics and violated its own privacy promises to consumers when Google Buzz was launched in 2010. Google and the FTC agreed on a settlement that bars the company from future privacy misrepresentations; requires Google to implement a comprehensive privacy policy; and initiates regular, independent privacy audits of the company for the next two decades.”

“This shift in Google’s policy raises a number of important questions about whether Google is altering its privacy policy in a manner inconsistent with its consent agreement with the Commission and, if the changes go into effect, the degree to which users’ identities, words, and opinions could be shared across the Web.”

Recommended: Federal Trade Commission (FTC) & Disclosure Policies: What You Should Really Know!

From all indication right now the stand of the FTC on this issue will determine to a great extent what will become of the new Google privacy policy.

As most of us do know what we say or do really does not matter as Google and its like are more after the profits. And so, while we await the FTC response to Sen. Edward Markey’s letter, you can do what is necessary for now; opt out if you don’t want Google showing your photos for it’s product endorsements (I’ve just done that!).

Let’s have your say: is Google violating user’s privacy by this new policy? Would you opt out or, stop using Google products and services altogether because of this new policy?

Facebook Fan Pages Revolutionized: Default Tabs out, Fan Page Timeline In!

If you think you’ve seen the last in the on-going rivalry between the heavy-weight social media sites, Facebook and Google, then you’re in for a surprise!

A few days ago Facebook introduced some major changes concerning Facebook fan pages. Coming a few hours before Google’s new privacy policy came into effect, shows that these two are not, in any way, ready to cede ground to the other.

As I’ve written earlier, this social media war between Google and Facebook is something that is definitely going to bring some positive thing for all of us! Who ever expected so many changes in a very short period of time? And who knows what more changes that we will be seeing in the days ahead? But one thing that is for sure is the positive impact this will have on our use of the internet both for business and personal interactions.

Facebook Fan Pages Changes: A Look into What Is New

When I first heard of the news about the new changes, I quickly took a look at this blog’s fan page and I was pleasantly surprised at what I saw.

Now, it will interest you to know that I was in the middle of redesigning the pages.  For the past 2 weeks I had been brainstorming for some very good artwork and so the first thing that surprised me was the fact that Facebook has thrown away the default tab and instead is introducing “Timelines” just as we have in Facebook profiles!

I really do not know why the default tab is being thrown away but from all indication, it appears that Facebook has something against the creative uses that many internet marketers are putting the default tab to. Seriously!

For example, here’s a graphic of what my facebook fan page looked like before the changes:

facebook fan page image

With this optin form for capturing email contacts:

fan page optin

But now, here’s a preview of what the page now look like (of course I will need to work on it again to bring it up to date!):

As you can see Facebook has given us some more work but we do expect things like this in this business from time to time and so it’s going to be some fun!

Here are the major changes

1. Cover Photo

With the default tab going Facebook now allows you to use a cover photo on your fan page. However, there are some restrictions. The cover photo may NOT contain the following:

>>> Price or purchase information, such as “40% off” or “Download it at our website”.

>>> Contact information or any other information that should be in your Page’s “About” section.

>>> References to user interface elements, such as “Like” or “Share”, or any other Facebook site features.

>>> Calls to action, such as “Get it now” or “Tell your friends”.

If you want to use a cover photo, the idea size is 850px by 315px.

2. Default Landing Tabs Removed

This is one area many marketers may not find agreeable. With the ability to use HTML codes, many marketers used this tab as the “Welcome” gateway for their fan pages. Many built fanciful landing pages where they collected contact information from first time visitors and build very responsive email lists. Others simply used it to encourage first timers to “Like” the page. Unfortunately, there is no more default tab. Taking this with the restrictions placed on the cover page, it does appear that Facebook is trying to discourage, as much as possible, blatant marketing on the site. But is this really what marketers on Facebook are looking for?

3. Photos, Likes, and Apps Moved to Top of Page

Photos, apps and likes which used to be at the side of the page now take the top of the fan page. You can show up to a maximum of 12 apps at the top.  A little look at this will of course give one some ideas on how to you can draw attention to a particular app since you can decide which of the app should appear first. Marketers will have to find some creative use for this section.

4. Administrator Panel

Administrators of your fan page can now keep track of activities of the page from a new admin panel. From here the administrator can respond to writeups from people visiting your fan page and also view the latest insights about the page.

5. Fan Page Messages

One of the features of the new admin panel is that people can now contact you privately through messages. Any message sent will appear in your admin panel.

6. Ability to “Highlight” or “Pin” your favorite post to the top

I think this is another good one. Just as you can make a post “sticky” in wordpress blogs, Facebook now allows you to pin your favorite post to the top of your fan page. This is another way of drawing attention to your most important content on your fan page.

And Now, My Sincere Thoughts About These Facebook Fan Page Changes

As much as it does appear that Facebook wants businesses and marketers to create more interactions in the use of fan pages, I’m seeing a situation where Facebook is actually playing into the hands of Google considering what Google is doing with Google+ business pages.

If you’re familiar with how Google is pushing Google+ business pages using their search engine to encourage more businesses to build Google+ pages, you will readily agree that businesses and brands who desire more online visibility will definitely focus more of their marketing activities in their  Google+ business pages.

Of course, Facebook may still be banking on their big numbers and the understanding that with more interaction comes more brand awareness and therefore more business, but I do see more marketers throwing more into their Google plus pages.

Over to You:

So, what do you think about all these? Do agree with my observations or do see business and brands throwing more into their Facebook fan pages viz a viz what Google is doing? Post your views in the comments below.

Google New Policy: You’ll want to do this, urgently!

Ok, this is rather late but just got to know of it and couldn’t wait to let you in to it.

I’m sure you’re aware that Google’s new privacy policy will be coming into effect in a matter of hours, precisely, March 1 2012, right?

Do you know the cardinal thrust of that policy is so that it will allow Google explicit rights to combine your personal information across multiple products and services?

Of course, Google is pulling about 60 different privacy policies into one so that the company can provide enhanced services and ads. But to do this it needs your permission to combine personal information  of users that they have across multiple products and services. Before now, Google only had implicit rights to do this but as from the March 1 2012, Google will be able to do this automatically.

Now, you may be wondering, what is the fuss about?

Nothing really!

However, you should know that Google is tracking your Web activities if you have a Google account.  Believe it or not Google know much about your online activities than you know because it has been keeping track of your searches and the sites you visited. This data has been separated from other Google products, but on March 1 it will be shared across all of the Google products you use.

if you think there are some personal information about you you wouldn’t want Google to “roll” into the “new web”, you can actually stop Google. But you just have to do it now before the clock strike midnight today!

Click this link for details on how to do it with a few clicks.